Local Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) commuters aired their concerns regarding the conditions of local Babylon branch train stations during a forum held Monday night at the Wantagh Public Library.
The forum, which was presented by Nassau County Legis., Dave Denenberg, D-Merrick, addressed issues related to the LIRR stations in Seaford, Wantagh, Bellmore, Merrick and Freeport. Some of the issues raised by the more than a dozen people who attended the forum included:
- Wantagh station escalator often being out of service
- General maintenance at Seaford station
- The need for more parking at Merrick station
- Escalator that had been out of service at Bellmore station before being repaired in early November.
Addressing concerns at Monday’s meeting were LIRR officials Patrick C. Gerakaris, a branch line manager for the South Nassau District, and Robert Brennan, director of government and community relations. Both Gerakaris and Brennan are Wantagh residents.
Brennan said the Wantagh station gets the most complaints on the Babylon branch in terms of its platform conditions and he is hopeful that state funding can soon address this, but is unsure of a timeable.
“We don’t have a capital program as we speak,” Brennan said.
The Wantagh station along with Bellmore and Merrick are in the top 10 in terms of ridership on the LIRR, according to Brennan.
In response to questions about the cleanliness of train station bathrooms, Gerakaris said he has a cleaner for the Wantagh, Merrick and Bellmore stations who does cleanings twice a day of all restroom facilities.
When the issue of safety was brought up, Brennan said MTA police have increased patrols at all Babylon branch stations during the past two months. Brennan said only a small percentage of LIRR stations have closed circuit televisions to monitor safety and Wantagh, Seaford, Merrick and Bellmore were not amongst them.